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UVA Basketball Notebook: Kadin Shedrick had 12 off the bench in his debut at Texas

Chris Graham
kadin shedrick
Photo: UVA Athletics

The grass may yet end up being greener for former Virginia big man Kadin Shedrick, who got 11 minutes off the bench in his debut at Texas in an 88-56 Longhorns win over Incarnate Word on Monday.

Shedrick, who had 12 points in his limited role in the season opener, is just getting his legs back under him after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

“When I watched him in the portal, I said, ‘This is the big guy we have to get right here,’” Texas coach Rodney Terry said after the game. “He’s a mobile big guy who can run the floor, extremely talented, a lot of guys in this league and the ACC spoke very, very highly of him. Several of those teams in his league wanted him as well.

“You just want those guys who can be a game changer for you. He’s a guy that affects the game on the defensive end of the floor, he’s an elite rim protector. Right now, you won’t see that for the first part of the season, because I really just want him to be a wall-up guy until he gets his feet under him a little bit,” Terry said.

Shedrick left Virginia in the spring, and didn’t mince words on his way out, shredding coach Tony Bennett for his lack of minutes after being benched in mid-January.

“I was starting at the beginning of the season, and everything was great, and then going from that starting role to less than five minutes per game and some DNPs here and there, it wasn’t easy, especially not being told why that was happening,” Shedrick told Field of 68’s Jeff Goodman.

On his move to Texas: “I wanted to get myself into a new system where I could show everything that I thought I could do, that I was doing in high school, and at the end of the day, I just didn’t think Virginia was the best place for me anymore, given what happened at the end of the season.”

The guys who replaced Shedrick: Works in progress

Bennett landed Merrimack grad transfer Jordan Minor off the transfer portal as part of the solution to the absence of Shedrick.

Minor, on paper, is one important thing that Shedrick isn’t – an elite scorer in the post – who can also do what Shedrick can do in terms of rebounding and blocking shots.

We saw none of that in Monday’s season opener for Virginia, an 80-50 win over Tarleton State.

Minor was the last rotation guy off the bench, checking in for the first time at the sub-4 media timeout in the first half, and he got just 11 minutes, the bulk in garbage time in the second half, with the game long since having been decided.

Minor missed his only shot attempt, had three rebounds and one blocked shot in his 11 minutes, and looked completely and totally lost on the offensive end, continually looking for somebody to screen for, and not always finding what he was looking for.

The other part of the solution to the Shedrick problem is Blake Buchanan, a 6’11” four-star, who got 17 minutes off the bench in his Virginia debut.

Buchanan didn’t do much more than Minor – he missed both of his shot attempts, was 1-of-4 at the line, had four rebounds and blocked one shot.

Bennett made clear why Buchanan got the bulk of the bench minutes at the five spot when the starter, Jake Groves, had to go to the bench with foul trouble.

“I think that’s what we’ve been impressed with, because he can slide his feet, and you know, athletic and, you know, he’s tough-minded, and I think he’ll just get better and better,” Bennett said, alluding to, yes, Buchanan’s defense.

More on that point: “You need quickness and mobility the way the game is going with, you know, stretch fives, stretch fours, athleticism and quickness,” Bennett said. “Yes, some teams will certainly have some big size and physicality down low, but in our defense, you know, being able to be two places at once and anticipate, do those things, he’s ahead of ahead of the curve for his age, and he’ll keep getting better.”

Think: Jack Salt, without the heft, and with a bad mullet.

So, are they going to play faster?

I love having these debates on press row. Media guys tell me, but this year will be the year that Tony finally decides to play faster, and I say back, no, he’s not, Tony is still Tony.

We usually find out by the half of the season opener who the winner of that debate is.

Last night’s first half: Virginia had 28 possessions.

The pace quickened a bit in the second half, because of all the trips to the foul line: 32 possessions.

For the game, then, we get 60 possessions.

Last season, Virginia averaged 61.5 possessions per game, which was the fourth-slowest tempo in all of D1.

The verdict: not playing faster.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].